Kospi drops 2.33% as foreign, institutional investors look for profit
Korean stocks tumbled more than 2 percent Monday amid strong profit-taking sell-offs and a plunge in Samsung affiliates. The won fell against the dollar.
The Kospi dipped 71.97 points, or 2.33 percent, to close at 3,013.93 points.
Trading volume was high at about 1.5 billion shares worth around 22.8 trillion won ($20.7 billion), with losers outnumbering gainers 715 to 164.
Foreigners sold a net 220 billion won, while retail investors purchased a net 514 billion won. Institutions offloaded a net 273 billion won.
The key index lost ground, as in addition to foreigners' selling spree, while institutions joined the sell-off, offsetting individuals' buying.
"China's estimate-beating growth rate in the fourth quarter last year seems to have driven foreign stock money to China," KB Securities analyst Ha In-hwan said.
In addition, the imprisonment sentence of Samsung heir Lee Jae-yong sparked a sharp slide in Samsung affiliates.
A Seoul court on Monday sentenced Lee to two and a half years in prison in a retrial of a bribery case involving former President Park Geun-hye and ordered him to return to prison, casting a cloud over the country's top conglomerate.
Most large caps closed lower in Seoul.
Samsung Electronics shed 3.41 percent to 85,000 won, while chipmaker SK hynix gained 1.96 percent to 130,000 won.
Chemical firm LG Chem retreated 1.53 percent to 964,000 won, and rechargeable battery maker Samsung SDI lost 4.21 percent to 706,000 won.
Internet portal operator Naver fell 1.8 percent to 300,500 won, and its rival Kakao declined 2.29 percent to 427,500 won.
Pharmaceutical firm Samsung Biologics moved down 1.99 percent to 788,000 won, and Celltrion dipped 4.56 percent to 314,000 won. Automaker Hyundai Motor advanced 0.42 percent to 241,000 won.
The local currency closed at 1,103.9 won against the dollar, up 4.5 won from the previous session's close.
The Kosdaq fell 19.77 points, or 2.05 percent, to close at 944.67.
Bond prices, which move inversely to yields, closed higher. The yield on three-year bonds lost 0.6 basis points to 0.968 percent, and the return on the 10-year bond fell 3.8 basis points to 1.08 percent.
BY LEE JEE-YOUNG, YONHAP [firstname.lastname@example.org]